When you think of the Disney parks what comes to mind? Maybe it’s an image of Cinderella Castle, hours-long lines for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, or money flying out of your bank account as you pay for that hotel stay. 😂 But how are the Disney parks ACTUALLY doing financially?
We’ve seen some interesting financial reports on the parks in recent years. Though the parks have often been the highlight of Disney’s earnings call (bringing in some BIG bucks in prior years), we have seen recent reports showing disappointing results in Disney’s Florida parks (which it has partially blamed on the Star Wars Hotel). So what’s the latest update? We’ve got it right here for you.
On February 7th, Disney released its earnings report and held its earnings call on the first quarter of fiscal year 2024. That gave us a better idea of how the Company has been doing financially over the last few months, and things are interesting when it comes to the Disney parks (and Disney Experiences in general).
In an interview with CNBC before the earnings call, Iger stated, “The combination of [global parks] with the domestic parks, whose business is, I think, more than twice what it was before the pandemic, is just an extraordinary business for us.” A lot of the success came from the global parks, which saw higher revenue due to guests spending more in the parks and on average higher ticket prices. They also saw a growth in attendance. The opening of World of Frozen at Hong Kong Disneyland and Zootopia at Shanghai Disney Resort helped with the success.
As we noted above, recent reports have shown lower financial results at the Florida theme parks, and that is echoed in the 2024 Q1 Earnings Report, which shows that revenue has dropped at the domestic parks and hotels. Disney attributes these to lower attendance at Disney World and higher costs because of inflation. Though guests spent more on tickets, this was offset by lower average rates of hotel rooms.
In Disneyland, the results were similar to previous quarters. There was attendance growth, higher ticket prices, and higher costs within the parks due to inflation, all of which impacted the growth. However, this revenue growth was offset by the increase in costs at the resort.
Iger said that every Disney park was profitable this quarter, and Disney has big plans for their theme parks: “We have so many untapped stories just waiting to be brought to life in our parks across the globe.”
In terms of Disney Cruise Line, there was much higher success and it offset the lower results in the two domestic parks. There was an increase in ticket prices and more days added to cruise itineraries. While there were higher costs, it wasn’t as much of an impact here as it was for the parks.
Disney has some interesting things happening in its theme parks. Its international parks have recently become home to some BIG new things, like the World of Frozen in Hong Kong Disneyland. And some more large expansions will open soon, like Fantasy Springs in Tokyo Disney Resort.
On the domestic side, however, plans have been far less concrete. Disney is working on its Disneyland Forward project for the West Coast and has announced $1.9 billion expansion plans without concrete details about what exactly would be coming to the parks.
Disney has also discussed potential expansion/change plans for Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but these have all simply been “Blue Sky” concepts — a.k.a. they are ideas of what could happen, but nothing has been officially confirmed yet.
As a whole, Disney has said that they plan to invest about $60 billion in their experiences over the next 10 years, but this plan to “turbocharge” growth within Disney’s theme parks won’t really take place until the second half of that 10-year plan.
During the recent Earnings Call, Disney said that 70% of that $60 billion investment is earmarked for “incremental capacity-expanding investment,” and every Disney theme park is going to get something new.
With Universal poised to open its brand new Epic Universe theme park in 2025, however, some expect Disney to announce a 5th park soon in an attempt to compete. Will it all be too little too late? Only time will tell.
We’re keeping a close eye on all of the news from Disney’s earnings call so stay tuned for more!
What do you think about the latest Disney theme park financial numbers? Tell us in the comments.